My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is another epic book in the Safehold series, Book Two. Even though this book has a 4.07 out of 5 rating on Goodreads, almost all of the reviews I read were one and two star annihilations of the book. Readers/reviewers HATE this book! It’s too long. There are too many characters. There’s too much religion. There’s too much infodumping. Worst of all, nothing happens. It’s all politics and dialogue. There aren’t any major battles like in the previous book or, presumably, in the following books.
Well. That’s a lot to swallow. And most of it’s true. But you know what? I don’t care. I loved this book. After finishing the first one, which was brilliant, I had to read the next one to know what happened next and this book went a long way in explaining a lot of things. Cayleb has taken over as king of Charis for his late father. Merlin, the indestructible android, is still his guard and is still providing spying information on virtually everyone in the world to the Charisian leaders, as well as technological advances. The Archbishop sent a letter to the Group of 4 (Vicars of the Church of God Awaiting, which essentially rules the world) insisting that “Mother Church” has unprovoked-ly attacked Charis and that the Church is corrupt. The Gang of 4 is shaken by their military defeat and seriously ticked about Charis’s letter, copies of which have been sent to every kingdom on Safehold. They are meeting to determine what to do next and they decide to build a new fleet to attack Charis again, to force the various kingdoms to blockade their ports from Charisian merchant seamen, and nearly to officially declare a Holy War. The Grand Inquisitor Clyntahn is the worst. He is utterly evil. Meanwhile, King Cayleb is looking for allies. One of the five kingdoms that was ordered to attack him seems like a natural fit, as they had been friends before. And it is ruled by a young queen. Queen Sharleyan of Chisholm is surprised to get a visit from the first councilor of Charis in which he proposes, not only an alliance, but a marriage and an equal partnership. This really throws her, but Cayleb means it. And she accepts, knowing this will mean her kingdom will endure Mother Church’s wrath now too. She sails to Charis, where she is warmly greeted by the population, and they are married.
Now what to do about Charis’s enemies? Emerald and Corisande, the leaders of the attacks, are the biggest threats. Cayleb is determined to have Corisande’s Prince Hektor’s head for killing his father and playing the biggest role in the attack. He’s going to invade Corisande. Emerald is a different story. Prince Nahrmahn tried to assassinate Cayleb when he was still a prince and they’ve been enemies for a long time, but they are neighbors and Cayleb knows he can destroy Prince Nahrmahn and Emerald anytime he wants and he knows they know it too. So he surprises them. Prince Nahrmahn sends an emissary to Charis to negotiate a peace, knowing it’ll probably cost him his life, but it will save his kingdom. Instead, Cayleb offers to allow him to remain prince of Emerald if the country will join the new Charisian Empire. Nahmahn takes little time to think about this and does it. He’s named spymaster of Emerald and is encouraged to continue his tricks against Hektor and others. Meanwhile, the Inquisitors have gone to a small kingdom where they have forced the military to board and take all Charisian ships. They do so at night and it turns violent, with the priests loudly shouting, “Kill the heretics.” One of the ships is armed with cannons, though, and protects itself and about eight other ships and they escape the slaughter. They return to Charis, tell their tale, and the Charisians are royally pissed. They send their Navy and Marines to teach this kingdom a lesson and the Navy destroys their shoreline cannon batteries and pretty much the entire shoreline and the Marines land. I was disappointed to see the military surrender, as I wanted vengeance, but there you have it. However, what I really wanted was Hektor’s blood. Towards the end of the book, the Charisian harbor is full of ships loaded with artillery and Marines. They’re getting ready to sail. Cayleb says goodbye to his new wife. And that’s where the book ends! DAMMIT! Now I have to read the next one. I have already ordered it from Amazon and it’s due to arrive tomorrow. I can’t wait to get started.
So, does this sound like a terrible book to you? It isn’t. Oh, and Merlin’s secret is revealed, first to the Archbishop and then to Cayleb. I forgot to mention that and it’s critical. And the secret of their history and of humanity’s. Big. It’s a great book. Lots of politics. Lots of intrigue. Lots of spying. Lots of preparations. Some fighting. The promise of a major war. The names are still freaking ridiculous, but I guess I’m getting used to them. The length of the book doesn’t bother me. Sometimes the infodumping annoys me and I think Weber’s just showing off his research, but oh well. It’s not perfect. It’s a good book. If you haven’t read the first book, I definitely wouldn’t start with this one, but if you have, I certainly recommend it.